HPU Team Wins Prestigious Computer Programming Contest

November 20, 2015

ACM Hawaii winning team

Curt Powley greets HPU team members Jiru "Jazz" Xu, Kevin Goo and Aaron Bernath, who won the Hawaii site of the 2015 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, Pacific Northwest region.

Honolulu, Hawaii — A team from Hawai‘i Pacific University recently won the Hawaii site of the 2015 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), Pacific Northwest region, on November 14.

Competing in Division 1, the HPU team 00FF00 (hexadecimal code for green) bested teams from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, UH-Hilo, and host Brigham Young University–Hawaii. 00FF00 members Kevin Goo, Jiru "Jazz" Xu and Aaron Bernath solved various problems, requiring knowledge of algorithms, programming and teamwork.

"Competitions like this serve as real-world preparation for our students," said coach Curt Powley, Ph.D., HPU Associate Professor of Computer Science. "They proved themselves excellent not only in programming, but in working together to solve difficult problems under intense pressure. I'm very proud of our current and past HPU students who have invested extraordinary effort in preparing for these contests and raising their level of expertise year after year.”

"With STEM-related careers in demand, it is critical that students get real-world experience, in addition to what they learn in the classroom," said Roland "Bud" Jenkins, Interim Dean of College of Natural and Computational Sciences. "I appreciate the work that our faculty does to get our students profession-ready."

Yi Zhu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Computer Science, served as assistant coach and tutored students on advanced algorithms.

HPU has now won the Hawaii site six times, in 2003, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, more than any other Hawaii team since the site was created in 2003. The ICPC is the world's premiere programming competition.

In total, HPU sent six 3-student teams, two in Division 1 (the advanced division) and four in Division 2 to this year's contest. In Division 2, team 9933CC (hexadecimal for purple), with students Thomas Wassum, Jessica Koanui and Noel Niles, took second place.

The Pacific Northwest contest was held simultaneously at six sites in the United States and Canada. HPU's top team ranked 24th in the region out of 70 teams in Division 1. For more about the contest, see

Other HPU students who competed or helped are:

  • Division 1, 4th place, 000000 (black): Lawrence Ruffin, Stephen Anspach and Leland Lopez
  • Division 2, 3rd place, FF9933 (orange): Pelle Oelholm, Theis Dam and Brittany Cruz
  • Division 2, 6th place, FF0000 (red): Josh Troglia, Rubio Lin and Kyota Tanaka
  • Division 2, 8th place, BAB86C (olive): Jesse Zimmerman, David Symonette and Kat Morrisey
  • Jenny Lee was the team photographer.